I want to revert because I am atavistic. This is generally frowned upon in society. Except in the cases of profoundly conscious artists.

However, the boys in this story are not artists, conscious or unconscious. They are boys that come to my bar. It’s called Ma’s Pub. I’m Ma. Neither a saint nor a poet. Just Ma.

They are brothers. They drink and steer one another along  on paths of destiny and debauchery. At least from what I see in the bar. I’ve never witnessed their selves in the flesh outside of my establishment.

I’ve hired a young lady to serve during the world cup. They start coming in at three in the afternoon. Especially to see her and flirt. There are only three of them, but the first half hour of happy hour is enough to make someone hire a dishwasher.

Which, I’ve also done for the world cup. He’s buying angel tattoos with his paychecks.

When Eric shows up at 3:00PM he consumes his usual two pints before the half hour mark and makes enough conversation. His conversation is easy regardless of the time. Shane arrives second, this day at half past and only has a water when he sits.

Shane carried on today in this manner for a little while longer than I thought normal. I wondered why he was drinking water. Was it to focus on the match? It was only France and Belgium today. I supposed he’d been fascinated by their history. Maybe by the second quarter he’d switch to whiskey and talk about the connection between world history and the match. Fools are prone to this. So are intelligent people.

By the point that their youngest brother arrived he’d been drinking water for fifty minutes here. This fact was pretty noticeable. The tangle of old men regulars were paying attention too. So I went to investigate, sending my new employee to untangle that other mess.

I said

Hi boys!

Hey Ma!

They said.

What’ll it be for the final five?

They ordered their pints except for Shane who again asked for water. There were only seven minutes in the game.


I said

This is to celebrate France’s victory. You can’t be happy for yer fellow humans?

I quit drinking Ma.

He said

I could scarcely believe my ears. But I served him water as he requested.

In the final five Belgium scored and blocked France from reopening their lead. It would end in a tie ultimately. Shane might have never learned that though. He stood up after Belgium’s block and said loudly to no one “Jesus Christ! Can’t the damn people do anything without a camera?”

He left. We watched it down to the end and only after the match actually observed Shane’s exit. He was gone.

“What happened to Shane Ma?” The young one asked.

“We’ll say cheers to him.”

What about the Belgians Ma?

Someone asked.

“That’s fine and all. But anyone who’s willing to go through life sober is pretty fucking brave.”


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